Captain B. F. Williams
Captain B.F. Williams is a descendant of Rachel Nugent, who was captured by the Huron Indians when they were in force in the counties of Lucas, Ottawa and Sandusky, Ohio, and the history of his ancestors is filled with such incidents and adventures as we find in Cooper's Leather Stocking Tales. The Indians also captured others of the Williams family, and after a time became so much attached to them that they removed, with the course of empire, west, the captives received a deed of their reservation on buckskin parchment, which is said to be on file in Washington. This deed conveyed to the Williams, Nugent and Stewart families a tract of land comprising twenty square miles.
Captain Williams is a son of Capt. Lewis D. and Betsey A. (Lomez) Williams, and was born in Fremont, Ohio, June 12, 1851. He attended the public schools of his native town, graduated from the Sandusky high school, and for two winters was a student at a school of navigation in New York. At the age of eighteen years he left home and shipped on the old barque Pearson, Capt. John S. Parsons, out of Sandusky, loaded with lumber and staves and bound for Liverpool. She made a good passage and return, but some time afterward was lost on the banks of Newfoundland. The following spring he shipped with Capt. P. H. Findlay, on the brig Eliza R. Turner, remaining on her three seasons, and in the spring of 1872 he sailed as wheelsman on the schooner General McClellan. For five years afterward he held the berth of mate on the O. Wilcox, transferring to the J. Emery Owen, on which he remained two years in the same capacity. Dr. Warner, of Alexandria Bay, then appointed Mr. Williams master of the yacht Olive, which he sailed about two years, until she was destroyed by fire at Perrysburg, Ohio. He then went to Lake Superior and for one season sailed the yacht Romona for Messrs. Hall and Buell, of Phisky Bay, the next season serving as master of the steamer Transfer. On one trip he had a cargo of sixty railroad cars, two switch engines and two locomotives, the latter weighing 125 tons each, from L'Anse to Huron Bay for the Huron Bay & Iron Mountain railroad; this is a cargo considered by all masters as very hard to handle. Subsequently he sailed in different capacities in various tugs and steamboats until 1893, when he shipped as mate with Captain Fitts in the powerful tug Schenck, from her going to the sidewheel pleasure steamer Pastime, as mate. In the spring of 1895 Captain Williams entered the employ of Homegardner & Son, of Sandusky, and was appointed master of the steamer Nicolet, in 1896 becoming mate of the steamer Frank E. Kirby. He then took his old berth as mate on the pleasure steamer Pastime with Captain Fitts. He has fourteen issues of master's papers. Captain Williams has been instrumental in saving several lives from the water, among them that of a little girl, during a high freshet at Fremont.
Captain Williams was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Buck, and three children have been born to them: Burt E., who is engineer on a naphtha launch, on which he made a trip to New Orleans by way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers; Irissie D. and Ida E., both attending school. The family residence is at No. 214 Oak street, East Toledo, Ohio. The Captain is a member of the Ship Masters Association and holds Pennant No. 1036. He also belongs to Harbor No. 43, American Association of Masters & Pilots, the Odd Fellows Fraternity, and the Junior Order of American Mechanics.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.